Thursday, July 28, 2005

Back to the Nine to Five and loving it ...

So many changes in so little time.

Dorian has moved into a group home not too far away, and is loving the renewal of her sense of independence and freedom from this too conscientious mother. The placement is working out beautifully. She's sharing a two bedroom ground floor apartment in nearby El Cerrito with a young woman who is also developmentally disabled. Upstairs lives another pair in the same fourplex, so they're in a small community that is maintained for a cluster of disabled adults with supervision by Harmony Homes, in a program I've only recently learned about. They live at scattered sites throughout the community but all participate in programs and activities especially designed to meet their needs.

Dorian is continuing her work at NIAD (National Institute for Artists with Disabilities) where she's been so very successful. Her sculptures are being featured at a reception next week at the NIAD Gallery, and she's busily anticipating the local acclaim (mostly her family) that she's begun to enjoy.

On Tuesday I started the new position with the National Park Service. I will be working closely with a lovely young woman from the west side of the Bay (the Golden Gate National Recreational Area) at the Presidio. Together we'll be planning the outreach strategies that will bring together the local communities with the Rosie the Riveter Homefront Historical National Park. She'll be working with me only two days a week, and otherwise I suppose I'll be on my own.

With the recent retirement of the park superintendent and the anticipated arrival (August 24th) of her replacement from Yosemite National Park, the program is experiencing no small amount of chaos. There is a total reorganization going on with the 4 national parks in the East Bay being combined under one superintendent (John Muir, Port Chicago, Rosie the Riveter, and Eugene O'Neill's Tao House in the Diablo Valley). My work will be at the Rosie site, only, I believe, since it is here in Richmond and in the surrounding areas of West County that my prior work experience is of greatest value.

Since my last entry over a week ago, we've completed Dorian's move, visited my dear friend in Mendocino for a long weekend at oceanside in his beautiful home 80 feet from the sea's edge. Did some retroactive sinning, and felt delightfully wicked in the process. Being with him took the sting out of what might have been a very painful separation experience. Instead of weeping, I drove my little red Beamer ("Rosinante") a little above the speed limit right through the Anderson Valley that lay in full summer splendor from the most riotous display of wildflowers that I've seen in years. The heavy rainy season paid off in blooms that lit up the fields in the way that literally demanded that one stop and look! And I did, several times.

To Tom's place from mine is a 4-and-a-half CD trip, and I timed it so that when I hit the stretch through the redwood forest that lies beyond Booneville, Hubert Laws was playing his flute -- with that incomparable rendition of "Amazing Grace" serving as the sound track for those magnificent miles through filtered sunlight -- just before Highway 128 merges into Pacific Coast Highway 1 and the ocean comes into full view for the first time! From there to historic Mendocino Village is a scant ten miles along the cliffs high above the sea, and Tom's is just a few minutes beyond ... .

Returned on Monday to find that Dorian had survived the first weekend on her own handily, and that I'd managed to actually stay "in the present in the place where my body was" with little difficulty. We visited Glass Beach and collected sea-polished bits to bring home. It was the short drive along the Mendocino headlands -- past the sunday morning strolling tourists -- to the great independent bookstore for the Sunday NY Times. Then reading in bed and occasionally looking up at the blue sky through two large skylights directly overhead that fill the bedroom with light, or stars, or a moon, or fog, or wisps of fast-moving clouds that go nicely with cups of hot tea and Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd columns.

But where on earth does one go for Bidet lessons?

I haven't the foggiest ... .